Kia Picanto 2020 - A small car with big aspirations

The Kia Picanto is a small city car with big aspirations to succeed in the challenging market of popular town cars. The Kia Picanto would be a great choice for 1st-time buyers, thanks to its impressive line-up of trim levels, superb value for money and seven-year Kia warranty.

The Kia Picanto's story began back in 2004. It quickly became popular around the globe thanks to its small but efficient engines, a good level of standard kit, given the low price bracket it falls in, and practicality. Over the following years, there have been various facelift upgrades and modifications to keep the Picanto up to date with market trends.

Kia simplified the number of optional extras on offer, by increasing the number of trim levels to incorporate any extra features and assists you may want with only small increases in prices between each model. There are a total of nine trim levels/model variations to choose from; 1, 2, Titanium Edition, Zest, 3, X-Line, X-Line S, GT-Line and top-spec GT-Line S. The X-Line models are designed to be more rugged and SUV in appearance.


The Kia Picanto is now in its 3rd generation and features a new engine and transmission line-up, along with added trim levels, some of which are sporty and will appeal more to the younger sub-30 car buyers such as the GT Line. There are plenty of impressive city cars on the market today, so Kia will face stiff competition from the likes of the Hyundai i10, Volkswagen Up, Seat Mii and Toyota Aygo.

Continue reading the yoauto review to help you decide if the Kia Picanto is the right car for you. If the Picanto doesn't tick all of your boxes, then don't forget to visit our Used Car buying page, where you will find thousands of cars available across the UK at excellent prices.

Engines, Power and Performance

Kia has gone against the prevailing trend of bringing out hybrid and all-electric models and have stuck to a line-up of petrol-only engines.

The entry-level engine is badged the 1.0MPi which is a 1-litre unit developing 66bhp and 96Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission and will hit 0-60mph in 13.8secs and keep going to a top speed of 100mph.


Next up is the 1.25MPi which is a 1.25-litre engine generating 83bhp and 122Nm of torque. This engine can be mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission will hit 0-60mph in 13.8 secs while the automatic will achieve the same feat in 13.2secs.

The final engine is the new 1.0T-GDi, a 1-litre turbocharged unit developing 99bhp and 171Nm of torque and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. This new sporty engine will hit 0-60mph in 9.8secs and is capable of a top speed of 112mph.

Although the 0-60mph times are not the quickest in the city car class, the delivery of the power is smooth and with the new turbocharged offering increased torque you can feel confident when overtaking or pulling onto the motorway. The Kia Picanto isn't aiming for high-end performance; it's a city car designed to be efficient, with chic and trendy body styling. The Picanto does feel rather nippy and easy to control when negotiating traffic and the steering is light, making parking in tight spaces a doddle.

Interior Quality and Technology

The interior of Kia cars has improved dramatically over recent years, and the Picanto follows suit with a new impressive dashboard which feels sturdy, well-built and of good quality. The overall driving position is good with a decent amount of steering wheel adjustment, and the fronts seat slide and recline. All models apart front the entry-level '1' received a height-adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shifter.


The Picanto trim levels 1 and 2 come with a 3.8-inch mono TFT screen and AM/FM radio. In contrast, all other trim levels benefit from a new 7-inch colour touchscreen to access the infotainment system with features such as; DAB Radio, smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Bluetooth connectivity.

If you opt for one of the higher trim levels 3, X-Line S or GT-Line S, you will also get the luxury of Kia's in-built sat-nav system, with the X-Line S and GT-Line S also gaining a wireless smartphone charging pad as standard.


Space, Practicality and Safety

The Kia Picanto is larger than before and, thanks to a longer wheelbase than in previous models, there is now extra legroom front and rear. In fact, the Picanto offers a spacious interior which trumps most of its competitors.

In the front, thanks to seats which slide back generously, most adults, even those over 6ft tall will still find plenty of legroom along with a decent amount of headroom. In the rear, the Picanto can be altered to a two seater or three on the backbench, with the 1, 2 and Zest trim levels being the only Picanto's which can be altered to seat four occupants, not the standard five.


There are various storage cubbies throughout the Picanto including a couple of cupholders, a good-sized glovebox and front door pockets. The boot is spacious for a car of its size, with a capacity of 255-litres rising to 1010-litres with the rear seats folded down. It easily trumps the VW Up and Toyota Aygo whose capacity comes in at 250 and 168 respectively.

The Kia Picanto scored a 3-star rating at the 2017 Euro NCAP safety tests, which one would expect to be improved on when the Kia is next tested, due to the addition of the latest safety assists and technology. All Picanto's come with a vast array of features including; Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), ABS with Brake-Assist (BAS) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and multiple airbags.

The Kia Picanto is a cracking little city car, and as good as anything else you will find on the market today. It is spacious, practical and comes with a vast selection of tech as standard, along with that impressive Kia seven-year warranty - it is a hard car not to consider. With prices starting from a little over £10K for the entry-level '1' trim, rising to just shy of £15K for the top-spec GT-Line S trim the Picanto is affordable to almost anyone.

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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
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